Tennis Legend Johnny McEnroe hates pickleball, how you should hit your thirds and what's on deck for the PPA and APP Tours.
Ok, Serena, it's been 5 days since your last tennis match. Feel free to announce your pickleball plans any day now...
We hope you don't mind us hanging out in your inbox on a Wednesday. Happy (belated) Labor Day, Dink fam.
The APP & PPA Tours will both host premier level events this weekend.
The PPA Tour is in Cincinnati for a Grand Slam at the Linder Family Tennis Center, home to one of the largest domestic tennis tournaments, the Cincinnati Open. The APP Tour will also be on Eastern time in Griffin, GA for the Atlanta Metro Open, an Elite Series event.
Best of luck keeping up with all of the action this weekend. Let's take a closer look.
APP Chicago Open Results
Should you move and hit? from Third Shot Sports
Pickleball coaches everywhere: "make sure your feet are set upon contact." Stabilize your lower half when hitting the ball, they say. But why?
A balanced stance makes it easier to hit the ball the way you want. It's easier to control variables like paddle angle, swing path, swing speed, etc. Makes sense, right?
It's sound logic, but the the truth is that you often must move as you hit. Sometimes, like when attempting an Erne, which requires a last second maneuver, movement is your friend. Poaching, shake n' bakes and plenty of defensive tactics all require movement throughout the shot.
So, let's realign how we think about movement. A stable lower half can be an asset, but setting your feet should be viewed as a means to an end, not the end itself. The goal is to maintain balance. When possible, set your feet. When necessary, don't be afraid to move through a shot.
Want to improve your PB balance? Here is a very old (but very helpful) video to help with that.
A Smart Guide for Thirds Shots
There are 20 precious feet separating the net and the baseline. The kitchen consumes 7ft, or roughly one third. An experiment: let's split the remaining court with a nifty red line, sectioning it into thirds.
Now let's use this red line to dictate how to execute a third shot. Anything that lands behind the red line should be played as a drop.
- You're further from your opponent, which allows them more time to react to a drive
- The distance also complicates a potential shake 'n bake, because the drive is less effective and there's more distance to cover on the 'bake'
If their serve return lands in front of the line, it opens the door for more options.
- A drive can be more effective. Your opponent has less time to react and just like Bon Jovi would say, you're halfway there...meaning halfway to the kitchen line to followup on your missile of a drive
- A drop is not out of the question here. It is still the way to go if their ball stays low or is difficult to reach
When both partners follow this guideline, it helps keep the team on the same page. If you know when your partner is going to drive or drop, then you can prepare accordingly.
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Tennis Legend Slams Pickleball
Seven time grand slam winner and tennis icon, John McEnroe is not a fan of pickleball, to say the least. In an interview to promote his documentary 'McEnroe,' he was asked about the new fad. In addition to some colorful commentary, he also offered the black and white "I'm not a convert to pickleball, I think it sucks."
He goes on to say that he does reluctantly play with friends, because the game helps level the playing field vs playing tennis. You can't blame the 'bad boy of tennis' for dissing pickleball. The man has made millions playing tennis. Oh, and he's also made millions for having wild opinions...
Don't worry Johnny, the pickleball faithful will be waiting for you with open arms when you're tired of shuffling around the tennis court. Pickleball has been missing a villain and McEnroe might be the perfect fit.
Somebody get on the horn with his agent so we can get a Mr. Deeds like cameo in one the upcoming pickleball flicks.
Voices Heard in Chicagoland
Remember Leroy Archibald, the guy we mentioned in last Friday's newsletter who's rallying for more dedicated pickleball courts in Chicago? Well, in a display of impeccable timing, it seems the city's Parks Department is one step ahead of him.
Local coverage from the Windy City, published just days after Archibald's story, reports that the Parks Department will build 50 new dedicated pickleball courts across Chicago slated for completion by 2025. Massive news for Chicagoans considering the city has only a single court within its limits.
The plans also call for construction of three facilities big enough to host tournaments. From almost no dedicated courts to a pickleball haven, it seems Chicago will be a destination for pickleballers in a few short years.
If you're currently a resident of the city, the Parks Department wants your placement suggestions for some of these new courts -- you can submit those via the form here.
APP Chicago Open Recap
The story of the weekend was the hard-hitting Minnesota duo's Cinderella run into the winner's bracket semifinal. Aanik Lohani and Amrik Donkena started Saturday as the 27th seed and almost finished Saturday on the podium. Their biggest victory came over DJ Young and Thomas Wilson, who finished the day with bronze.
In men's doubles, Dylan Frazier and Andrei Daescu teamed up for the first time. A force to be reckoned with, the pair simply could not miss in the final game to 15 that decided the gold medal. They took down JW Johnson and Dekel Bar 6-11, 11-13, 15-5.
In the mixed doubles final, Frazier and Anna Bright had too much firepower for the Johnson siblings. Relentless attacks from Bright and Frazier led them to an 11-8, 11-6, 15-8 victory.
In women's doubles, the one-seed Lauren Stratman and Andrea Koop lost their first match of the tournament. They had to scrape together 5 wins in the loser's bracket to reach Championship Sunday where they double-dipped Jorja Johnson and Anna Bright to take home gold.
- Federico Staksrud finally broke his 0-13 losing streak to JW Johnson in the singles final
- Salome Devidze has now won the last two APP events she has entered and looks more dangerous every week
- Beth Bellamy was highlighted for most golds on tour last week and added 3 more medals to that total. She completed another senior pro triple crown in Chicago
The APP Tour will host its 4th event in 5 weeks with the ATL Metro Open that starts tomorrow.
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Two major pro events collide on the calendar again this weekend. Pro pickleball fans are going to go cross-eyed by the end of the year.
Ben Johns, Anna Leigh Waters and the PPA crew will make their first stop in Cincy for a grand slam tournament at the Linder Family Tennis Center. The Johns brothers will look to avenge their finals loss at TOC, and ALW will have her sights set on another triple crown performance.
Down in Griffin, GA the APP Tour is taking over the Spalding County Tennis center for the ATL Metro Open, a golden ticket qualifier for Nationals. JW Johnson, Simone Jardim and Dylan Frazier headline the event.
Last week's APP champ Salome Devidze will be 'testing the Waters' at the PPA event. While the only player to beat ALW this year, Parris Todd, will make her return to the APP Tour in Atlanta.
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Headlines & Quick Hits
- Selkirk signs up-and-coming pro James Ignatowich, a former Vanderbilt tennis standout
- Top Pros Rob Nunnery & Adam Stone talk MLP, the Tour Wars and a whole lot more
- Inside Pickleball: The Fun, Low-Stakes Sport Enjoyed By Larry David And The Kardashians - Buzzfeed News
- Pickleball in Southern California is booming, and cities are rallying to catch up
- ‘It’s a great game, you get exercise and it’s fun which is essential’ - The Irish Times
- A Whole New Pickleball World in New Buffalo